House Demands ObamaCare Delay, Reforms for Debt Hike
House Leadership unveiled Thursday a draft plan to lift the debt ceiling for one year, in exchange for a one-year delay in ObamaCare and a host of other reforms. The plan contains a near wish list of reforms sought by conservative lawmakers. It is a clear indication House GOP Leadership was struggling to get support for a debt ceiling hike within the Republican caucus.
The plan doesn't raise the debt ceiling by a specific dollar amount, but rather would allow the Treasury to issue new debt until December 2014. The new expiration of borrowing authority would coincide with the one-year delay in ObamaCare.
The plan would also authorize construction of the Keystone pipeline, set broad parameters for tax reform, repeal some provisions in Dodd-Frank financial regulation law and scale back a host of recent regulations by the EPA.
The plan makes some entitlement reforms and provides for means testing for Medicare benefits. It repeals some ObamaCare taxes and institutes medical malpractice lawsuit reforms.
While specific language won't be released until late Thursday, the sheer volume of reform provisions shows how difficult a time Leadership has had getting support for a debt hike from its members. Most of these provisions are unacceptable to President Obama and Senate Democrats as a condition to raise the debt ceiling. Obama has stressed repeatedly that he will not "negotiate" over a debt ceiling hike.
If it takes a "Christmas Tree" of conservative reforms to get a debt ceiling hike through the House, the negotiations ahead are certain to be challenging. A one-year delay in ObamaCare is likely the bare minimum that conservatives would ultimately accept.